Highlights of Club Activities in Recent Years
12 February 2006 marked the 197th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. The Redpath Museum, Friends of the Redpath Museum, and the RMC organized a two-day celebration in recognition of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. On the 12th and the 13th, Dr. Brian Alters (Education) – a leading expert on evolution and education – gave an interesting lecture on “Defending Darwin and Evolution Today.” Dr. Hans Larsson (Biology) also gave a tour of the vertebrate paleontology exhibits themed “Defending Evolution with Fossils.”
11 February 2007: Dr. André Costopoulos (Anthropology), winner of the Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching, gave a lecture “What does it mean to be 98% chimp?” As humans, we are both very similar to, and different from, our closest primate relatives. By examining those similarities and differences, we can learn about ourselves and who we are.
30 October 2006: Redpath Curator of Ethnology Barbara Lawson gave a great lecture on our fascination with shrunken heads, a.k.a. “Shrunken Head Fever”, talking about the real origins of the Jivaro practice of shrinking heads, her own experiences with shrunken head fever, and its manifestation at McGill and in wider media. On 31 October, the club also hosted a Halloween table for the public.
Renowned origami expert Dr. Robert Lang is a pioneer in the creation of algorithms and mathematical equations for the most intricate origami designs. In conjunction with a recent public lecture given by Dr. Lang, the Redpath Museum presented a temporary feature exhibition of his extraordinary creations from 28 February to 15 March 2006. RMC members helped to animate workshops focused on the Japanese art of folding. The project culminated in the folding of pteranodon in April 07.
During Montreal’s Nuit Blanche, members of the RMC gave flashlight tours of the museum from 1000pm Saturday night to 400am early Sunday morning. The night began at 900pm with animated film and concert Long Life (A Horse’s Dream) by Voisa, Montreal’s Georgian singing group. With over 550 visitors in 6 hours, the club helped raise funds for the construction of the origami pteranodon.
Let’s Talk Collections, 2005
27 October: “How Dawson and Redpath Built Their Museum” – Dr. Peter McNally
3 November: “Something Fishy at the Museum” – Dr. Sara Lourie
8 November: “What the Redpath Museum Vertebrate Paleontology Collection Has to Say” – Dr. Hans Larsson
17 November: “Collecting Cultures: An Historical Overview of Ethnology at the Redpath Museum” – Barbara Lawson
24 November: “Shells of the Redpath Museum: Treasures and Mysteries” – Dr. Anthony Ricciardi
New Ideas in Archaeology, 2006
31 January: “Cognitive Complexification and Hominid Evolution” – Dr. Andre Costopoulos
8 February: “Andean Archaeology: A Single Highway But Parallel Lines” – Jean-Francois Millaire
Intended as a small, interactive forum for professors and graduate students to share current research projects, the RMC’s seminar series began on 10 March 2006. Dr. Rudiger Krahe kicked off the seminar series with a riveting presentation on “Weakly Electric Fish”.
Spring 2006: A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright
Winter 2006: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond
Winter 2008: A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson